Friday, May 06, 2005

Scopes Redux

Kansas is currently undergoing a modern-day Scopes Trial as the conservative Kansas Board of Education is about to create new science standards which include theories counter to evolution -- meaning Intelligent Design and possibly Creationism.

I thought I could design an intelligent argument concerning another challenge to the validity of evolution, and science more broadly, but I'll leave it to Cheryl Shepherd-Adams, a physics teacher, to sum up these proceedings from a personal perspective: 'Kansas has been through this before," she said. "I'm really tired of going to conferences and being laughed at because I'm from Kansas.'"

Also if you have any doubt that these "doctors" --who by the way argued their questioning of evolution stemmed from religious conversion -- are simply utilizing scientific evidence to contest a theory that's more dogma than fact, I give you William S. Harris, director of the Intelligent Design Network, who helped write the new standards.
"You can infer design just by examining something, without knowing anything about where it came from," [he] said, offering as an example "The Gods Must be Crazy," [yeah, that's right, "The Gods Must be Crazy,"] a film in which Africans marvel at a Coke bottle that turns up in the desert. "I don't know who did it, I don't know how it was done, I don't know why it was done, I don't have to know any of that to know that it was designed."
Meaning Dr. Harris doesn't need evidence other than his own belief. That's not science Mr. Harris, its theology. (Harris wrote Intelligent Design: The Scientific Alternative to Evolution. Note how it wasn't published by a scientific journal but The National Bioethics Catholic Quarterly.)

Also if you read the article closely, you'll find the recurrent inability of proponents of ID to distinguish between the common everyday usage of theory --speculation-- and how it's meant in the sciences -- "a set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."

When proponents of ID can show their theory has been repeatedly tested and can make predictions about natural phenomena, then it should be included in a public school's curriculum.

Until then, it's time for ID theorists and advocates to inherit the wind (and blow away).